I remember seeing a girl crying at a science fiction convention. I approached her gently and we began to speak. I don’t remember the content of the conversation, but I know she stopped crying, and laughed, and seemed better. Many years later, I found out she was the niece of a friend. Even later, she told me that I was the only man who had ever helped her without wanting sex in return.
I don’t like politics. I respond to the world from my instincts and feelings, informed by my intellect and perceptions. I get criticized all the time because I don’t accept THIS political position about race or racism, or THAT position about gender and sexism. Not my responsibility. My only responsibility is to be true to myself, and to tell the truth about the world I see, and to be happy and spread joy. Do I sometimes bend over backwards to see the good in people? No more than I do to see the good in my own heart.
I’ve fucked up, friends. Hurt people. Burned ants with a magnifying glass like every other kid, until it hit me one day that those ants were living things. Trapped butterflies in our old Studebaker to toast them until I realized they could feel pain. Swung kittens by their paws until I realized they felt fear.
At some point, it CLICKS IN and you start seeing yourself in others. They have feelings to. You feel your own blood pulsing in their veins. It is transformative, and from that point on, you cannot deliberately and capriciously hurt ants or butterflies or kittens or people without being an evil thing. You are no longer DOING evil…you are BEING evil. An enormous difference to me.
We all DO evil things from time to time in our lives, but if we ever awaken and realize what we’re doing, and continue to do it, we ARE evil.
Only if you’ve done your work, and rarely even then. No, its about you, and the person in the mirror. WE are the problem. There’s no one out there.
There is nothing more absurd than people fighting on Facebook, arguing about how the politicians in Washington are these corrupt monsters who never get anything done. Don’t they notice how difficult it is to get consensus on the simplest things once you are dealing with a person with an opposing position? Don’t they grasp that if THEY held the reins of power, they would be just as inefficient and excoriated?
Not to say there aren’t sleepers, snakes, and monsters. Oh yes. But the monsters need us to be at each others’ throats. For the sheepdogs to fight among themselves while the wolves steal lambs.
If men cannot understand women, and women not understand men, the only possible conclusion is that those who cannot are blind. We live amongst each other. EVERYONE knows someone of the opposite sex. Everyone. Without exception. The only possible answer is that those who don’t grasp the humanity are blind to their own emotions, cut off from their own strength or softness. You need BOTH to be a human being, but we have agreed to specialize for the sake of efficiency. In the 21st Century, in a world of automatic weapons, machines, and birth control, the artificial differences between male and female are being reduced.
What we are left with is the realization that we are they, and they are us.
Love yourself. Love one other person.
Could the Harvey Weinsteins of the world do what they do if they really loved themselves? Really knew how to love another human being? Really SAW others?
I think not. Maybe he is a monster, who sees, and does not care. But he may also simply be a twisted, stunted, broken man on a level that is difficult to see through the surface charm and intelligence and success.
Would he want someone to treat his mother that way? His sister? His daughter? Yes? He is a monster.
No? Then he lacks that crucial capacity to extend his own humanity to others. He may think to himself “hey, if all I had to do to get ahead was fuck someone, I’d do it in a heartbeat!” without realizing that to believe this, and act upon it, he has to have deleted countless screams and struggles and protests. There is no way for him to be simply asleep: it happened too many times. He may be a snake. It is not the fault of a snake to be born venomous.
But there is a part of me that thinks he may well be beyond that category. Too much deliberate planning. Too much corruption of others to support his actions. Too much convenient denial and leaning on the ‘I’ll go to rehab!” trope that really means: “I’ll manipulate you into forgiving me, sucker.”
No. For the sake of our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, it is safest to do a bit of “mind reading” here and assume he is a monster. It simply isn’t safe to assume him even a snake.
Come little girl. I am the guardian of the gate to all you dream of. All you have to do is exchange the most precious thing in the world, the path to the creation of life, everything you were ever taught was beyond rubies, and let me treat it like used Kleenex. Then you can have that career.
But you will never, ever be able to feel that you earned that success through your heart and soul and talent. I will always be leering at you from the other side of the spotlights, sniggering and whispering and telling my drunken buddies what you did to get that role. I’ll know. They’ll know.
And YOU’LL know.
I’ll own you..
And Satan took Jesus to the mountaintop and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and said, all this and more can you have, if only you bow before me…
Get on your knees, bitch.
I am beyond anger about these things. Human beings have been exploiting their power for their own gain forever. Men do it their way, women do it theirs. The problem is a human one, and no, I won’t take sides.
But if you touch my sister, my daughter, my mother and hurt them, shame them, I want you to know that they are under my protection. Yes, I train them to protect themselves. Want them to clarify what they would die for, and be prepared to blind a predator who will not respect them.
I like the IMAGE of the European knight. Not the historical reality, but the image. All of that martial skill, and the sword, and the lance, and the armor, and the fiery steed and lethal intent. But all of that aggression was supposed to be: “At your service, m’lady.”
That is the image in my heart, that I swore to live up to. I don’t always succeed. But that is what is there.
And here’s the bad news: EVERY woman is my sister, my daughter, my mother. Yes, I’m an asshole. No, I don’t play politics and will say what I see. But when the rubber meets the road, the fact that a girl can tell me I’m the ONLY man who ever helped her without asking for sex makes me want to vomit. Yes, I once burned ants and butterflies, and swung kittens by the paws, and didn’t understand. Just…didn’t understand.
And then woke up, and saw myself in them. It costs us to awaken. Means that we have to deal with the fact that we don’t have the right to do as we wish to others. That we are EVIL if we treat human beings as means rather than ends.
But…we cannot really love ourselves, or anyone else, if we don’t treat every human being as an end in herself.
Be gentle with others, and you can be gentle with yourself. Love others, and you can love yourself. Protect the children of the world, and you can protect the child within you. Protect the women of the world, and you can protect the feminine within your heart. And ladies? If you don’t see the implications about protecting the masculine, you are sleeping too.
The kingdoms of the world are made of shit if you have to trade your soul for them. And you are a monster if you ask another to do what would be wrong for you, or your own family, assuming that you manage enough humanity to care about THEM.
I remember a documentary about “The Iceman”, a professional hitman who killed without remorse. Even he managed emotion about his own family, his own children. Maybe it was pretend emotion. Just putting on the mask of caring because it serves him to do so. In which case he is an alien. A total monster.
Or maybe he is damaged in some way it is hard to see, so broken that he cannot connect with that space. FUNCTIONALLY THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. We can empathize with the child he once was before whatever happened to him happened, but if that damage had occurred to me, and I saw what I was doing in the world…I would want someone to kill me if I could not be healed.
I believe that any unwarped soul would feel the same. It would be a blessing to be stopped.
So… while I cannot approve of a death penalty wielded by society, when it comes to the monsters of the world, those who would hurt my daughters and sisters and mother, I am sorely tempted to say what my Southern sisters say….
Bless their hearts.